Over the last 16 years, the United States gained 21 million people in the labor force, and 11 million of that increase was immigrants, according to a paper from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released Tuesday.
The labor force includes both people who are working and the unemployed, but not stay-at-home parents, retirees, full-time students and people who live on disability benefits rather than working.
The same report found that between 1996 to 2003, the jobless rate of immigrants was higher than that of native-born Americans. From 2005 to 2007, immigrants’ unemployment rate was lower than native-born Americans. The jobless rates of the foreign born and the native born were about the same from 2008 to 2012.